George Iloka: Suspensions shouldn’t be for football plays

Josh Alper
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Bengals safety George Iloka made a successful appeal of the one-game suspension handed down for a hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in Monday night’s game this week and now he’s making an appeal to the league to not suspend other players for similar plays.

Iloka’s suspension was replaced by a $36,464.50 fine and he said he was OK with players being fined for football plays that cross the line. He also said that suspensions for repeat offenders and plays away from the ball were “understandable” but that suspending players for plays made in the normal course of the game sets “a bad precedent.”

“I’m asking you guys,” Iloka said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “You all watch football. None of y’all are coaches, but you’re reporters and journalists – what would you want your safety on your team to do? Just concede a touchdown? You want your corner to concede he’s out of bounds on the sideline? If that’s what you want, OK. Then when someone tells me that, cool. But that’s not how anybody should want the game to be played — not a fan, not a coach, not a player. Period. So I think that’s what he sees, like man, if you’re suspending guys for football plays, what are we doing then? We’re not playing football. It’s just flag. If you want flag go to your local college intramural league, not what we’re doing here.”

Iloka wasn’t just talking about himself. He took issue with Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster standing over Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict after wiping Burfict out with a blindside block, but not with the suspension that Smith-Schuster received for the block itself.

The NFL doesn’t agree, obviously, and that’s led to the rare issue where members of the Steelers and Bengals are on the same side.

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